Thursday, February 3, 2011

Rustic Bread and Eggplant Lasagna

A lasagna with no lasagna noodles, you ask?  You won't miss them a bit!  No need to boil a big pot of water and worry about the noodles overcooking...just grab a nice loaf of artisan bread instead.  This is a great way to put a twist on a traditional dish and will definitely please any crowd you put a huge slice in front of (come on, who doesn't love a big plate of lasagna?).  Not feeding a crowd?  Neither was I, so instead I'll be enjoying this for days which makes great for leftovers to bring for lunch and for those nights when I get home late from work and am way too lazy to cook.  It's great because you can add anything you like to this's extremely versatile!  I followed this recipe exactly, but next time I'm going to add some zucchini, vegan mozzarella, and cashew ricotta to add some more of the traditional lasagna components.  This is one big lasagna as it is, so if you add more to it, prepare yourself for pulling a huge, delicious, and fragrant dish out of the may even need an extra set of hands to help out out! 

Be sure to use a sourdough bread or any other thick, crusty bread that will hold up to absorbing the sauce so it won't all fall apart.  Have some day old bread on hand?  That will work out great too because it holds up nicely when slicing and serving.  I'm warning you NOT to use a regular loaf of bread or else it will just be end up being really mushy. 

Rustic Bread & Eggplant Lasagna
Serves 9-12

  • 3 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 4-6 Cloves Garlic, minced (optional)
  • 2 28 oz Cans Organic Tomatoes, blended
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 4 tsp Dried Italian Herbs
  • Olive Oil, for drizzling
  • 2-3 Medium Eggplants, peeled
  • 8-10 Large Slices of Sourdough Bread
  • 1 Cup Breadcrumbs (or 2 more pieces of bread for toasting and food processing)
  • 1-2 Large, Ripe Tomatoes, fresh, for garnish
  • Basil, for garnish
  • In a very large skillet with high sides, or a sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Sweat the garlic for 1-2 minutes, then add tomatoes, salt, and herbs. Cook for 30 minutes (bubbling), stirring occasionally. Invert a mesh strainer over the top of the pan to prevent splatter, if desired.
  • Preheat oven to 400º F.
  • Meanwhile, prep two baking sheets with parchment paper. Peel the eggplants by slicing off the top and bottom and using the cut edge to start your vegetable peeler. Holding the eggplant vertically, cut the eggplants into 1/2 inch slices. Arrange in one layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle liberally with olive oil.
  • Bake eggplant for 30-40 minutes at 400º, turning once, until very, very soft and browned in some places.
  • Spray both sides of each slice of bread with spray oil and “grill” in a hot skillet until browned on both sides. You can also simply toast the bread, but I think you get more flavor with grilling.
  • In a large baking dish (a lasagna dish), spread 1 1/2 cups of tomato sauce. Line the bottom of the dish with bread, filling as many as the gaps as possible without overlapping.
  • Place half of the eggplant on top of the bread, followed by another 1 to 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce.
  • Add a second layer of bread.
  • Add the second half of the eggplant, and all of the remaining sauce. Make sure that the bread is completely covered by sauce. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top.
  • Place fresh tomato slices on the top of the lasagna, sprinkled with salt and pepper.
  • Bake for 40 minutes at 400º F. Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes before cutting.
Note:  Mine wasn't cooked enough after the 40 minutes so I kept it in the oven longer and checked it every few minutes.  I ended up keeping it in for about an hour.  

Source: VeganYumYum  (I definitely need to get the book, all of her recipes on her blog look and come out awesome!)  She also provides beautiful step by step photos for this dish.

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